I find that when you only pan-fry an especially chunky piece of meat – such as this fillet of beef – the temperature at the centre of the meat is stone cold, while the exterior is perfect. This is where Sous Vide cooking helps. It is a fantastic way of bringing thick cuts of meat to the perfect temperature, inside and out.
You first vacuum-seal your meat, then immerse it in a water bath set to the desired temperature. Then forget about it for an hour or longer before snipping open the bag, draining the juices and pan-frying in a very hot pan for a minute or so either side to get the Maillard reaction (the chemical process of browing the sugars in the meat) to get that wonderful look and caramelised flavour.
I served this beef thickly sliced and draped over porcini and cream pappardelle (which I made with a pasta machine), with a scattering of toasted breadcrumbs and a drizzle of truffle oil to finish.
If you don’t have a Sous Vide water bath, you can still make this delicious beef. First, pan-fry the beef in oil for 3-4 mins each side, then transfer to a roasing tin and cook in a 180C/Gas 4 oven for approx. 10 mins, depending on how well done you like it.
Fillet of beef, from the thick end, weighing approx. 600g
1 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pappardelle
Quantity of pasta dough, made with…
200g ’00’ tipo flour
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
(Click here for instructions)
For the porcini cream sauce
Half onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
50g dried porcini mushrooms
100g brown or chestnut mushrooms, chopped
300ml double cream
2 springs fresh thyme
To garnish: 50g fresh toasted wholemeal breadcrumbs; 1 tsp truffle oil (optional)
1. To prepare the beef, put it into a Sous Vide vacuum pack and vacuum-seal. Place in a Sous Vide water bath, preheated to 60C, for 1 hour.
2. When you’re ready to cook, heat a large frying pan until very hot. Snip the Sous Vide pouch open and drain the juices. Rub the beef with oil and sear in the pan on al sides, for approx. 1-2 mins per side. Transfer the beef to a chopping board and carve into 0.5cm-thick slices.
2. To make the pasta dough, put the ingredients into a bowl and, with your fingers, bringing together into a ball. Flour a work surface and knead the dough for a good 10 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 mins, then feed the dough through a pasta machine, starting on the widest setting, then working down to the lowest setting. You should feed the dough through approx. 20 times, from start to finish, until you have a large thin sheet.
3. Flour the dough sheet and fold over, like you would do a sheet after it’s finished drying on the washing line. Now take a very sharp knife and slice through the dough to make 1cm-thick ribbons (or narrower or wider – it’s up to you).
4. When you’re read to cook, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and drop the pasta ribbons in one at a time. Stir and cook for 2-3 mins, until the pasta is very tender.
5. To make the pasta sauce, first soak the porcini mushrooms in hot water for 10 mins. Remove the mushrooms and reserve the stock.
6. Add a little oil to a frying pan and gently cook the onions and garlic for around 5 mins, until soft. Add the chopped brown mushrooms and stir through. Cook for another minute or so.
7. Chop the soaked porcinis and add to the pan. Stir through. Gradually add the reserved porcini stock and bring to the boil until all the liquid as evaporated. Add more stock and continue to boil until dry. Keep doing this until you have used up all the stock. This process intensifies the mushroom flavour.
8. Add the cream and thyme sprigs and gently simmer until the sauce reduces to a consistency thick enough to cling to the pasta.
9. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir through.
10. Transfer to serving plates and drape the carved beef over the pasta. Finish with a scattering of toasted breadcrumbs and a drizzle of truffle oil.